The call of MySQL
- By Jack Vaughan
Attention has focused of late on how open-source Linux is displacing Solaris, Windows NT and other OSs. Effects are being felt in the database world as well, as MySQL especially seems to be displacing other DBs and gaining open-source traction.
But MySQL's potential as a "disruptive" technology also includes the ability to provide DBs where flat files stood before.
That is how MySQL was used by Rich Allen, traffic administrator for the Matanuska Telephone Association (MTA), a cooperative formed to bring phone service to a roughly 10,000-square-mile area of Alaska that stretches from Anchorage to Fairbanks.
"I collect traffic-related data on how many phone calls go from 'point A' to 'point B.' A lot of what I do is to collect data to feed reports, and to make sure we have enough resources to service subscribers," said Allen. "I work in the engineering department, but I also work with marketing. If they have a request, I try to collect the data and present them with reports."
Allen had a set of data collection software he had built on the Mac platform. Eventually, he said, "I was collecting so much data that the way I was doing it just didn't work." Then he came across MySQL.
"I was doing a lot of flat files and [collection] with FileMaker before," he said. Now, using MySQL, Allen can place his app on a number of machines and databases. MySQL is used to produce DB-driven Web pages as well.
"It's never died," Allen says, a statement that may resonate for many DB administrators.
Meanwhile, MySQL AB plans to move up in the enterprise with a new clustered database product with high-availability support. The new cluster capabilities are based on technology from Alzato, a start-up venture created by European telecom equipment maker Ericsson in 2000 and acquired by MySQL AB last October.
(This article includes reporting by John K. Waters)
Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.